The Communications Workers’ Union’s biennial conference was due to get under way in Killarney today.

The CWU represents 15,000 workers in communications companies, including An Post and eir, in a sector badly hit by the recession.

An Post has returned to profit, thanks to a resurgent parcels business, 330 redundancies, work practice reform and a rise in stamp charges, but further change is inevitable, particularly as automation increases.

Meanwhile, eir faces 750 redundancies, a change of ownership and has withdrawn from the National Broadband strategy.

Tomorrow, An Post Chief Executive David McRedmond and eir Chief executive Carol-Ann Lennon will address the 600 delegates at the conference.

Delegates will want details of strategies for the future stability of both companies, who are responsible for operating core national networks, which are critical to the Irish economy, particularly in rural areas.

They will also debate issues including short and long-term challenges in the communications sector and trade union recognition, particularly at BT Ireland's National Emergency Call Answering Service, where the CWU has so far failed to secure representation rights.